Revealed: Doomsday prediction of 50,000 cases a day in October is based on just few hundred positive cases as Oxford expert warns UK risks 'talking ourselves back into a lockdown'
Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty told the UK it could face as many as 50,000 daily cases by mid-October
The Government's claim Britain could face 50,000 coronavirus infections a day was based on studies involving just hundreds of positive cases, it has been revealed, as debate rages over whether government restrictions go far enough in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty made the stark forecast on Monday but it has since been debunked by experts as 'implausible' and 'designed to scare us'. And even Boris Johnson U-turned from the prediction, admitting to the Commons yesterday that the number of infections may actually only be doubling every 20 days.
Figures suggest the outbreak is doubling every two weeks, rising from an average of 1,022 infections a day on August 22 to 2,032 on September 7, to 3,929 yesterday. Neither Spain nor France, whose outbreaks the UK is thought to be on a par with, have got anywhere near the dreaded 50,000 cases a day mark.
It comes as scientists trade blows over whether Number 10 has imposed adequate measures to curb the spread of the virus. Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the University of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, told BBC Radio 4 he thought the measures showed a shift from a suppress the virus model to a Sweden-leaning contain model.
'We are starting to understand that we are trying to control the spread of the infection as opposed to suppress it,' he said. 'What we are starting to see is a move towards Sweden.
So, for instance, when you look at bars and restaurants, that's the policy there - they have table service. I'm hoping we now start to see a more consistent policy, one that stays in place.' Professor Heneghan added: 'If at every point there is an uptick in cases and we panic with more measures, we will talk ourselves back into a lockdown, which as a whole society is hugely disruptive.'
His words were hot on the heels of Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and SAGE member, who slammed the Government for 'not learning the lessons from March' and alleged there could be another damaging lockdown as in March unless more drastic measures are implemented.
Despite it maybe not being as bad as once announced, that figure is still extremely worrying. For the average person, who knows he is following the rules as much as possible, this is scary. How can we put our trust in a system that has so many people abuse it? Unfortunately, we cannot lock away our anti-maskers or our party animals who insist on taking advantage of happy hour at all costs.
So where does this leave us?
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